During the eight years of the Bush administration, this country endured one of the most incompetent, dishonest, and ideologically biased administrations in American history. For most of that time it endured a right wing Republican Congress that either rubber stamped the incompetence of the Bush administration or initiated the incompetence with the willing approval of Bush. Because of this, Bush became one of the most unpopular presidents in modern times. His popularity and that of the Republican party became so low that, for the first time in years, the Democratic party was assured a clear and commanding victory for the presidency. It received that victory with the election of Barack Obama and what was essentially a Democratic supermajority in Congress. But what has happened since? The repudiation of the Republican agenda so clearly realized in the Obama victory has now been thrown into confused irrelevance by a well funded and organized fear and smear campaign by the Republican right and more importantly by the ineffectiveness of the Democratic party in responding to the Republican attack. Because of this the Republicans have succeeded in generating a level of discontent with the public that has compromised the Obama agenda. More importantly the Democratic Party’s ineffectiveness could already have begun to cost them control of Congress.
So what happened to the Democrats in all this? They have been incapable of any meaningful response to the Republican fear and smear campaign, completely ineffective in promoting Obama’s election commitments, and terrorized into virtual silence by the Republican right wing with its Fox led tea parties, staged town hall meetings, and media attacks on the Obama agenda. In their continuing but useless efforts to seek bipartisan agreement, the Democrats have only created more disgust and disillusionment with the public, and they still don’t seem to understand why. They don’t understand that the Republicans have no intention of allowing any of Obama’s initiatives to become law. They have one and only one mission. That is mission is to make certain that Obama is defeated in the next presidential election and that the Republican right wing is reinstated in Congress. They have publicly continuously stated this and nothing else matters. No bipartisanship, compromise, cooperation, reconciliation, and nothing but total annihilation of Obama and the Democratic agenda.
The amazing thing is that while the Republicans have been successful in stopping Obama’s initiatives, it has been able to mask its agenda by feeding on the fears, bigotry, ignorance, and emotions of very classes whose interests it suppresses. It was accomplished by dispensing heavy and continuous fear propaganda proclaiming the destruction of America caused by big government, abortion, homosexuality, same sex marriage, government welfare and waste, affirmative action, and the outlawing of government approved school prayer. It is an agenda that works.
So what is the real Republican agenda? It is the hallmark of the Republican right. It’s an agenda that proclaims minimal government, minimal taxation of the rich, a free market economy unfettered by government regulation, a repudiation of affirmative action, and maintaining a social agenda that eliminates or cuts deeply any spending on social programs. They are well-publicized beliefs that while real are also code words for much more than what Republicans view as the appropriate role of government. It’s to safeguard, secure, and promote the wealth of their primary constituency – the wealthiest Americans and corporate America.
It’s the self serving belief that every society has its lower classes, and because of the inherent apathy and lack of ambition of the lower classes, those who are successful in life, including the wealthy, have no obligation to subsidize their welfare. It’s also the self serving belief that the poor are poor because of their own poor choice, and accordingly there is no obligation to tax the wealthy to support the poor. To insure that this taxation is minimized it is the responsibility of those in power to exercise sufficient control over the social order that a laissez-faire free-market system free of government taxation and interference will prevail. Republicans do not loudly promote this agenda because of the negative backlash they would engender. However, they do so with code words and politically correct responses designed to mislead their real agenda. These are reducing the size of government, cutting government spending, cutting taxes primarily for the wealthy, and opposing social programs because they have no place in a free market society – all, of course, proclaimed to benefit the lower classes they are designed to suppress.
It’s propaganda that is nothing less than double-speak. A widely publicized tax reduction proclaimed to further the economic well-being of the American people, when in fact it is primarily a subsidy for the wealthy. It is legislation claimed to improve the health insurance system for the benefit of the American people, when in fact it is designed to protect the profits of the insurance industry and drug companies. It claims to protect the environment when in fact its intent is to degrade the environment by gutting the laws that protect against industrial pollution, air pollution, and the exploitation of our last remaining wild lands.
It’s a trickle down economic agenda designed to embellish the rich with tax cuts and subsidies which are then touted to create jobs and economic progress for the rest of the country. In fact it is an agenda that results only in higher corporate profits, unconscionable income levels for CEOs, and an ever widening income gap between the rich and poor. It is an agenda that rewards extravagant compensation for corporate CEO’s while sending U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas where the far lower wages of third world peasants simply guaranties higher corporate profits and greater compensation for America’s CEO’s. It’s an agenda that protects corporate America from the imposition of needed consumer protections, environmental restrictions, and the health and safety of the working class in order to favor its primary constituents – the very wealthiest Americans and corporate America.
No one has to look very far to see why the Republican Party won over the South during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. The South had been heavily Democratic when the Civil Rights Movement emerged. However the Democratic party of the South was the party of Jim Crow, segregation, and racism. It was loyal to the national Democratic Party only so long as it ignored the deeply entrenched segregation and discrimination of blacks. It was a political awakening that would elevate the GOP to a new and winning political strategy. Pander to the hate, fears and bigotry of the masses and political victory is assured. It worked then and it works now.
It is pandering to the religious right by asserting that America is an exclusively Christian nation and that its laws and governmental policies should reflect this. Support the belief of the religious community that there never was a separation of church and state. Pander to the biblical based beliefs and fears of the evangelicals that homosexuality, same sex marriage, prohibiting God and religious instruction from public schools are destroying American, repudiating the theory of evolution and any science findings that are contrary to the bible, and raging that democrats the party of godless socialism and evil must be defeated is America is to be saved.
It is preaching that only with an unregulated free market can the best interests of the working class be protected. This of course means returning Health care to the insurance companies that maximize profit at the expense of meaningful coverage to the public. It means destroying unions so corporations are free to cut worker wages and benefits to improve their bottom lines. It means eliminating environmental regulations allow big oil and the mining industry to plunder the most pristine and irreplaceable lands on earth.
It is an agenda that is being sold to the American public as one that is in their best interests when; in fact, it is designed to serve only the wealthiest in the country and corporate America.